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date field

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concerning dates.
We would be very interested to hear what others think about the correct use of the date field. Please let us know.

"Date photo taken" misleading for pinned or other dead specimens
I think I agree with most the points made in each comment below (though I had difficulty interpreting what was meant in many!). Nevertheless, I'm a bit confused about the consensus here, and wanted to clarify where things stand at this point. So here's my take...please let me know if you disagree.

It seems most commenters below are advocating filling the "date field" with the date a photograph was taken. That is clearly the sensible protocol for:

1) Photos of living subjects shot "in situ" (whether found in wild or human-created habitats); 2) Life-cycle/rearing series, where dates help delineate timing of significant biological events: e.g. date egg deposited (or found); date egg hatched; or dates when larval instars, molts, pupa, or adults were observed & photographed;3) Other more unusual cases, like the timing of the color change that motivated John & Jane's comments under Iustin's original post.
BUT...I would *not* endorse using the "date photograph was taken" for posts of pinned or other dead specimens!

For pinned or other dead specimens, the date of the photograph is *not* of primary interest. It can be mentioned in remarks, but should not go into the "date field". Instead, the collection date should be used, as it carries meaningful biological info on phenology. If it's not known, then the date field can be left blank...though some context should be given in the remarks. I would add (and emphasize!) that habitat and other biologically relevant & interesting observations should be included in the contributor's remarks (which are too often left out, making a post much less useful).

I think Iustin made a number of good points in his 1st comment below. In particular, I agree that the thumbnailed post he referred to...where a long dead specimen was posted under the date bad practice and can corrupt the accuracy and purpose of the phenology info presented in the "Data tab" and it's associated "Adanced Searches". Most taxa have naturally delimited (and often diagnostic) periods of activity for various stages of their life cycle, and that's what the "date field" is meant to convey. But for a long dead specimen, the date of the photo is largely irrelevant, and can be misleading in the "date field" for those interested in biological phenology.

Also, if a live specimen is taken elsewhere to photograph a few days later (with no significant biological change occuring), I'd agree with Iustin and Peter that it's probably more informative to use the date of removal from the habitat where it was found...and clarify the situation in the contributor's remarks. J & J expressed concern for those who may be mining data via computer searches. Presumably such searches are geared towards biological phenology, which is likely better represented by the field day than by a photo date that's been delayed by a few days. At any rate, the results of such mining are usually understood to be somewhat imprecise, and a few days difference in dates shouldn't be a big problem. (Also, if such miners truly want to optimize their "yield", they need to be willing to "dig" further, and read the contributor's remarks! ;-)

Well said
I mostly agree. I would add that some people take a caterpillar indoors and the adult emerges in the middle of the winter. In such cases the dates should not go in the date field but in the comments because it would be misleading. The same thing applies to butterfly houses, both for date and location.

It seems that I appreciated wrong the purpose of the 'date field' under BG pictures and I praised too much the idea that the location and the date field should to play a role like an entomological label of a specimen preserved in a scientific collection.
I would like that the date field to reflect a real date when the specimen was find in habitat but that don't means to not be respected the BugGuide policy.
I would have liked to see more interventions from researchers searching for information on BugGuide.
It has been more than three weeks since this topic was opened and I think that is no more reason to keep in the forum the others two links to this discussion. So to keep the forum simple I will delete them.

There are three possible cases of shooting of a living wild specimen
a) The specimen is photographed where it was found. (in habitat)
b) The specimen is captured to be photographed in a controlled environment
c A combination of a) and b)
Both cases, a) or b), have their advantages, disadvantages or difficulties.
The problem that arose is: what date should be included under "Date:" field. And especially when is presented a series of pictures which were taken on different dates.
It can happen that not all pictures of a series to be taken in the same day. Especially when it illustrates important changes, for example: remarkable color changes or aspects of the life cycle (lay egg, the molting … ) in this case I think that a good practice would be to note the day of the shooting but under 'Remarks:' and by case can be added some more information.
If the specimen has not changed between the time it was found and the shooting date, it is of no use to switch to the photo-shooting comments. (For example, it may happen that the specimen is photographed the next day)
Frequently it can happen that the specimen is photographed the next one or two days after it was collected but I think that the date field should show the date when the specimen was found and not the date when it was photographed. Scientifically in such case the date of shooting is completely useless (my opinion).
There are some aspects of the problem:
1) A person can see one date under picture but an another date noted under 'Remarks:' that could lead to confusion.
Perhaps it would be useful to be mentioned before the date something like 'Found date'
But probably this aspect is not so important.
2)On the page to submit a picture for the 'Date:' field is mentioned 'date taken'.
“Date taken, if known (mm/dd/yy). Only specify this for wild specimens. “
I don't think that 'date taken” wont to refers to the shooting date but to the date when the specimen was found in his habitat. (nature, in a building ...)
3) On the 'Data' page associated with a species (or other taxonomic level) - the page with map and table. The graphics information generated by the system (the black squares of the table) would be erroneous if is not kept the date when the specimen was find in the case when in series are pictures captured in different months.
If the cursor (the arrow) is positioned on a square black of a table, the system provides a number. This number is the number of photos from the BG gallery for a given species (or another taxonomic level)
Perhaps a mention, under the table, of what it is this number would eliminate a potential confusion. (Would be great if the number will represent the number of cases reported on BG, but I think this is a little more difficult).
But the graphical information given by these squares is valuable if in the "Date" field it is put the date when the specimens was found.
Let suppose that one specimen it is found close to the end of a month but by some reason it is photographed only to the begin of next month. In this case the graphical information will be or can be false if the purpose of this is to reflect the months when a species is found in habitat.
Or let suppose that one wild specimen it is collected in an immature stage and it is kept for study of life cycle. Life cycle can be long, lasting several months. In this case the graphical information about the months when a species is found in habitat can be completely distorted.
- 'Found in habitat" of course is about the find by humans ... Obvious a species (if it is not a migrant one) in a form or another, egg/immature/adult, it is all year present in habitat.
- Habitat – I means natural habitat, which can be in the nature or indoor, inside of an human buildings for the wild specimens which reach this environment by accident or for the some synanthrope species.
For the species breed in captivity in artificial conditions the field date should be let free.

In conclusion, in my opinion the 'Date:' field should be filled with only one date, the date when the specimen was found in habitat.
a) if a specimen is observed in his natural habitat and it is photographed in several day for each picture the date field will be the day when it was photographed.
These are rare cases for arthropods. Only one case which I had, it was the observation of an orb spider in his web and I was absolutely sure that it was the same specimen.
b) the field date should be let uncompleted for
- the specimens found dead in habitat
- the 'place-holder' specimens (specimens from outside of BG aria)
- the non-wild specimens, like pets or the specimens breed/reared in captivity
- if a specimen is photographed in habitat, the date of found and the date of photo is the same.
- if it is a specimen preserved in a collection the date field should show the date of find noted on the specimen label.

I do not find very useful to put to remarks the date of found. (But better than nothing)
Just a case,
I don't know the case for this. Or the indication of 'date taken' was interpreted like the date of shoot or maybe under influence of this topic. But table under map here show the month March but the specimen was found October. (and the years are different in this case).
This kind of table appear for some alive specimens if the date is the date of shooting.

I hope that my comment will not be find disturbing and I apologize if so.
I took the decision to write because I prize very much the scientifically side of BugGuide and I appreciate the work of all, contributors, editors or experts.
But I feel, if in the date field will no be the date of found, BugGuide will loose an important side of scientific value.
I hope no one will be disturbed if I will add two links to this discussion in other section of forum. Maybe we can have some more opinions from the researchers who mining for data or opinion from more experts and editors. I do this only for value of BugGuide. Maybe I'm wrong but I will like to know more opinions. Always I treated the location and the date under a picture like an scientifically label of a specimen preserved in a collection and I feel confused a bit now.

I agree
I have raised many larvae and I always put the date when the photograph was taken on the date field. It seems like the logical way. It is particularly important when the adult emerges the next spring.
One example here:

Dates are: July 18, 2009 and July 21, 2009, respectively.
The only times in which I don't put a date is when the larva is raised in unnatural conditions, for instance room temperature when it is cold outside. In those cases, I only date the original specimen and the photos I took on the collection date. On the others, I leave de date field blank and give the date of the photo on the discussion with an explanation about the given conditions.

Another example
Dates on the date field go from June 29, 2012 to August 14, 2012

I think most biogeographical-temporal searches
would want the natural location and date of capture, not how a photographed entity appears afterward in captivity and in an unnatural new home. My reply is biased by my sole area of interest - the adult "ground beetles" which do not change morphologically after a short teneral state.

I also agree.
For a wild-caught specimen, the date field should reflect the date the photo was taken.

Seems simple enough
I agree with your comments on that image. The sighting date should always be the day it was filmed, wild or captive. Notes can still be added to the text or to the title, if needed.
Spiders are seen year round in Texas anyway, right? Several species in this genus are already known to be associated with human habitation.

Animals with disturbed hibernation periods or otherwise skewed life cycles should have the dates removed. However, that isn't needed in this case.

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